Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Keown Falls to West Armuchee Creek

Frost flowers

10.0 miles

I'm sitting across a fire, the coals bloody red and warm. The logs crackle. The flesh on the left side of my body feels scalded, the right feels as if there's a cold wet towel laid against my skin. Even though I have three layers on.

It's forecast to be fifteen degrees tonight, and again, I'm guessing that it's actually much lower than that. No way to know. Today the frost bloomed up from the ground, encasing just one kind of grassy weed with these delicate blossoms of ice. Reverse blossoms. The snow rose growing from the dirt, carrying the stem aloft.

The threads of the ice were like miniscule ribbons. Like pulls of salt-water taffy. When I first saw one, I thought it was litter, some cheap bride's cast-off corsage. Then I looked closer and they were everywhere. Fields of bridal detritus. We tasted the frost, and the fronds of crystal were so light, so little, that they melted right away. They tasted delicious, like whatever delicate chemicals chlorophyll extrudes.

Later in the day, when I had to strip off my shoes and socks and roll up my long underwear over my knees to wade across two foot-and-a-half deep streams--not so fun or so beautiful. Wading and long underwear are not two things that generally go together, for good reason. Walking, and fast, is the only sure way to warm numb toes. Why would anyone convince me to walk through two rivers on the coldest day of the year?

Love. True love. It's the only possible reason. Wasn't Leopold Bloom always saying something like that?

1 comment:

Red Sonia said...

I just read through all your postings and they are amazing. I can't believe the challenges of cold, water and bad trail markings/road walks. Seems like someone should pay you guys to write a guide to managing it all. I love your spirit and the details of your spaces. I am curious about the views, what you are seeing as you walk, though I am guessing you are traveling without a camera? :( It is so peaceful and freeing to be able to see you walking through half hot and half the bitter cold! Missing you and wishing to read more! Safe journey to the end and whatever lies beyond. SK